We returned home Monday evening from our short trip to Salina, Kansas, for activities surrounding our exhibition in the lovely Earl Bane Gallery at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure. We arrived in Wichita, Saturday, in time to grab a quick lunch and then we spent the afternoon at the Sedgwick County Zoo. The weather was beautiful with lots of sunshine, and we happily took alot of great photos that will certainly become future miniature paintings. It was a very nice and relaxing afternoon, which we thoroughly enjoyed in the midst of the business of these next few weeks. Later that evening we drove to Salina in time to enjoy a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant.
After enjoying a nice lunch there at the zoo, we headed over to the Discovery Center to get ready for our two kids classes that afternoon. The first class was filled to capacity with excited young artists anxious to try their hand at drawing their favorite animals with colored pencils in miniature. They all did very well and went home with several Christmas ornaments to proudly display on their trees this Christmas. The 2nd class was also filled with the older kids who too did awesome jobs with their creations. They also enjoyed getting to watch Wes give a quick demonstration on drawing cartoons. After having not taught children art classes for almost 15 years, we actually got back into the swing of it pretty quick!
Upon finishing up with the classes it was time for Wes to give his presentation on the history of miniature art. Afterward, we headed over to the Gallery to spend a couple of hours talking with the attending public about our miniature paintings and asking many questions. It was a well attended and fun evening! We said our goodbyes at the close, and headed back to the motel to pack and get ready to fly out the next morning. We arrived back in Townsend later Monday evening, in time to unpack, wash clothes and repack to get ready for our next adventure, while painting on our current miniatures in between everything.
Fresh off the easel: I finished my landscape miniature “The Wee Tree Hugger”. It features one of the gorgeous Sequoias that we photographed and I hugged while in CA this past month. In case you’re wondering the wee hugger is me, happily hugging another one of those amazing beauties! Wes finished his painting “Awestruck” too, which shows him down on the foreground, standing and looking at the giant tree. I guess it’s quite obvious that we both couldn’t wait to paint miniatures of our wonderful encounter with the ancient giants of Sequoia National Park!
Currently on the easels: Wes is currently painting on a miniature of a Turkey that we photographed in Cades Cove, and I am painting on a miniature of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird eating from one of our beautiful orange Trumpet Vine flowers.
Happy Fall! . . .And in case you were wondering, yes the Wichita lineman is still on the line . . . I saw him!
Upon leaving Sequoia, we drove a ways up to Yosemite to spend our remaining two days in the Park. Just as in Sequoia, we were greeted with more extensive road construction. Our first view into the valley area was accompanied with tractors and the road being completely removed to the dirt in preparation for repaving. We decided that this most certainly made a memory as most people don’t get to experience it in this way.
When we got into the valley area, we were totally amazed by the amount of people in the park and the incredible amount of infrastructure present! It seemed everywhere you looked were more buildings. There were two story apartment buildings, restaurants, at least one grocery store as big as ours here in Townsend and massive semi-permanent tent cities in different locations. After passing a golf course earlier, in the Park itself, I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised at all of this. I suppose we were picturing a scene more conducive to the one that John Muir talked about and so enjoyed many years ago, not a metropolis, or at least what feels like one compared to Townsend. After we finally found a parking spot, we walked for a bit on the “divided” walking path, making sure to not get hit by oncoming cyclists. The first real view of Half Dome was simply beautiful!
After walking around for a bit, taking photos, we decided to ride the shuttle to a different location and walked up to a lovely waterfall, where Wes was attacked by a swarm of Yellow Jackets on the way back. Fortunately, only one was able to actually sting him, while the rest decided to just harass. I never knew Wes could “bust a move” like that, as he tried to get away from the onslaught of his vicious attackers! I guess you could say it made another memory! We later had a nice supper there in the Park and enjoyed watching the majestic scene of the mountains changing every minute as the sun started setting, taking as many photos as we could, of course. We then started our drive out for the night. Fortunately for us we were stopped for the 30 minutes road construction delay at a parking lot overlooking the valley setting, just before you enter a long tunnel. It was an absolutely beautiful display of colors and ever-changing shadows as the sun set. We sure felt bad for all of the people that were stuck in the dark tunnel for that half hour that didn’t quite make it in to see their sunset view.
The next morning we started off by heading up towards Glacier Point. What a spectacular view it was from up there! You felt as if you could almost see forever as you looked across the rugged mountain ranges. Walking along the edge at the viewing area is not for the faint of heart that’s for sure! Earlier that morning we had stated that we would really like to see a Spruce Grouse, and amazingly enough as we walked back to the parking lot, there was a mother and her brood of young Spruce Grouse! They were beautiful and very obliging to letting us photograph them for future miniature paintings. As I was about to get into the car before leaving, one of the young ones walked over and stood there for a minute looking at me as if to say “hi” and then slowly walked away. A special encounter indeed!
On the way down from Glacier Point, we enjoyed a picnic lunch by a beautiful little meadow filled with wildflowers and several feathered visitors. We then resumed our drive to the Yosemite Valley area once again. With my coxing, we started hiking up to Vernal Falls, thinking we could see and photograph the beautiful falls, and perhaps get away from some of the crowd. Well, we did get to take photos of the falls, but get away from the crowds we did not. As a matter of fact, most of the time we had to hike single file as there was so many people on the trail, and once again, we found this completely amazing! The trail leading to the falls was really neat as it followed closely to the edge in many places and at a later point consisted of rough stones made to be steps, lots of steps!
The remainder of the day was just spent walking around taking photographs for future miniature landscape paintings. At one point while riding the shuttle bus, I was able to talk with a couple, one from Munich and the other from Australia, which had just spent the past 3 1/2 days climbing the face of El Capitan! It simply thrilled me to hear of all of the interesting details of their amazing journey and how things were done, like how he managed taking a 120 lb backpack containing their water and supplies up with him. Unfortunately, because of all of the people climbing, they spent a fair amount of their time waiting, thus using up their water and having to turn back before completely reaching the top. Learning to rock climb has always been a dream of mine, so imagine my sheer delight at this timely encounter!
We enjoyed another yummy supper in the park and then began our drive to Sacramento, for a very early flight out the next morning, while enjoying the beautiful and scenic views with the setting sun. It was now time to go to the Birds in Art exhibit in Wisconsin!
Fresh off the easel: I finished my self portrait miniature “The Pink Lace Dress”. I’ve decided that it’s not the easiest thing to do, to paint oneself. Wes finished his portrait miniature “Mountain Man Herb Herrick” this past week as well.
Currently on the easels: Wes and I both are working on miniatures of the giant Sequoias. His miniature painting features himself quite tiny in the foreground, standing and looking at the awesome tree. Mine has a wee me hugging one of these great beauties! I’m excited that we should be able to finish painting them so I can share them with you next week.
We will be in Salina, KS at the beautiful Earl Bane Gallery at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure, this next Sunday, October 3rd. We will be giving art classes for children: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ages 5 to 10 and 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. ages 11 to 14. Wes will then give a Powerpoint Presentation on the The History of Miniature Art at 4:00 p.m. in the Conference Center. Following will be a book signing of our publication The World of Nature in Miniature, followed by a Gallery Walk from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., to meet with the public and discuss our techniques, influences, and paintings in the exhibit. The Museum will be offering half-price admission to the general public during the evening to attend our exhibit and see the rest of the museum displays. So if you’re in the area, we’d love to meet you!
Once again, much of the past week has been spent painting and Wes, along with a few others, has been putting the finishing touches on the soon to be published MAA book. Thankfully, our weather has been a bit more pleasant with cooler temps during the day and at night, allowing us to enjoy the windows being open for most of the past several mornings. This is a great joy to us, as we love to hear all of our sweet birds singing their beautiful songs, and the occasional squirrel fussing, when it doesn’t feel like sharing his peanut butter treats. Dovecakes has been coming to get her treats daily, and the Carolina Wren family continues to eat us out of house and home! Little Scarlett, the Chipmunk, has been gathering her share of sunflower seeds to store for this winter.
The hummingbirds continue their battle over the feeders and the many available nectar sourced plants throughout the yard! They never believe that there’s plenty for everyone. We have also had a mother Black Bear and her three cubs visit our neighborhood at least a couple of times this past week. They’re moving about a bit this time of year as mating season starts, but no visits lately, so that’s probably it for this year. Stinky the skunk is definitely still around though, because her natural “aroma” drifts in through our opened windows most mornings. We also enjoyed a visit from a gorgeous little Black-throated Green Warbler yesterday, and that was a nice treat!
We enjoyed a wonderful concert this past Friday evening at our local Heritage Center, featuring Randy McGinnis, a native flute player, and Lucie Carlson, a concert violinist. It was a magical and relaxing time as the smooth and beautiful sounds from their flute and violin filled the air. One could almost hear a pin drop as the audience sat mesmerized by their peaceful songs of long ago. It was quite easy while listening, to picture oneself sitting on a mountain top, looking out across the vast scene of distant mountain ranges, while a Red-tailed Hawk circles above, and the calls of crows can be heard off in the distance. At the conclusion, it was time to snap back into reality.
Fresh off the easel: I finished my portrait miniature, “The White Squirrel Man”, of our dear friend Don this past week. Part of our mini vacation last week, was spent at Don’s place in North Carolina. He enjoys feeding his resident White Squirrels, and it’s always a real treat for me to be able to see and feed them as well when we visit. Mama Whitey graced us with her presence during this past visit!
Currently on the easels: I’m putting the finishing touches on a portrait miniature of myself wearing a Victorian style lace dress, and this will be the first self portrait miniature that I too have done. I also will be starting a commissioned portrait miniature of a little girl, once we receive the frame for it. Wes is currently painting on a portrait miniature of a mountain man named Herb, that we photographed in Dubois, WY.
Our solo exhibition,“The World of Nature in Miniature: Paintings by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist”, at the Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure in Salina, Kansas, opens Saturday, September 4th.
Also, the 50th Society of Animal Artists “Art & the Animal” Exhibition opens this coming Saturday, September the 4th at San Diego Natural History Museum in San Diego, CA.
Continually wishing you all the coolness and beauty of the onset of fall!